It is time for a true confession. I am a big fan of Harry Potter. I love the books. I love the movies. I love to listen to Jim Dale read the text as I drive in the car and, if I could, I would love to create a spell that walks the dog, feeds the cats and empties the litter box. I love the stories because they are imaginative, engaging, sorrowful, joyous and everything in between. They teach us that being the smartest girl in class is great and that sometimes standing up for what you believe in is the most important thing that you will ever do.
There are a couple of quotations from the books that make me think about Gill whenever I hear them. The first is said by Professor Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. He says, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” As we move into the heart of fall, our students are immersed in exciting and challenging new material. The intensity level is rising. I hope that we can encourage our children to make good choices to successfully manage the academic rigor. In a Wall Street Journal article, "Before You Study, Ask for Help," from August 15, 2017, Sue Shellenbarger shares that research has shown that the most successful studying techniques involve studying in 45-minute segments or less, quizzing oneself or a friend on the material, and seeking help when the way to solve the problem or complete the assignment is unclear. Students are also making choices to successfully balance school work and co-curricular activities. They choose how they spend their free time, how much sleep they get, and how many hours they spend playing video games or watching videos on Instagram. Our school is filled with students who can do exceptional work, and I hope that they make good choices so that they can meet the standards and expectations set before them.
The other quotation that I love has to do with bravery. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Dumbledore shares, “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.” I have always been thankful for the community that we have at Gill St. Bernard’s School. Our students care for each other, support each other and cheer for each other. Many students also understand that maintaining a community is an active process that takes engagement and requires students to work together and to, sometimes, challenge their friends to be better. This is our community and we all need to applaud our friends when they are doing well and stand up to them when they are not at their best.
My final quotation is perhaps the best. From The Chamber of Secrets, “When in doubt, go to the library.” Our library is filled with wonderful books, interesting displays, puzzles, chessboards, a fireplace and two fabulous librarians. Ron Weasley was right: “When in doubt, go to the library.”
Gill St. Bernard’s is a private, coeducational day school for students age three through grade 12, located in suburban New Jersey. Each of the three school divisions provides a vigorous, meaningful and age-appropriate curriculum, and all students benefit from the environmental learning opportunities that exist on our 208-acre campus.